Where Worlds Collide

J’s beautiful face is surrounded by the hijab she uses to cover her hair. Her hijab is the only one I have seen in Armenia. J speaks Farsi, Kurdish, Arabic and of course English. She glowed as she talked about the TS Eliot poems she is teaching. I asked her about Irish writers she admired, hoping to steer her onto a topic where I could similarly shine. She enthused about Beckett and Joyce. Perhaps she’ll explain them to me one day, if I can persuade her to leave Yerevan. In Armenia’s capital, J says that people have been unfailingly kind and helpful–although they do stare. Her experience outside the big city might be a little more testing: Armenia’s relationship — or lack of it– with Turkey and Azerbaijan means that many people in my Syunik circle fear a religion other than their own. As in so much of the non- Muslim world, too many people in this Christian nation tend to paint all of Islam in Isis colors.

J has adventure in her soul. Born in the Middle East, she has lived in Iran, Iraq and Cyprus and studied in Ohio in the United States (where she says she often had to deal with cruel remarks). She wants to see more of the world. I hope it makes her welcome. We owenfinished out our conversation enthusing about First World War poet Wilfred Owen, whose work we both love. Owen was killed in action aged 25, just one week before the Armistice. He writes of the drudgery, misery and horror-smell of war. Of its futility. I wonder how his terrible, beautiful works strike young men in J’s classes about to go to the Karabakh border for their compulsory military service? There, sniping claims the lives of several young Azeri and Armenian men every week. War isn’t confined to poetry here.

 

 

 

About Liz Barron

US Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia. Permanent address in Washington DC. Deep roots in Northern Ireland and persistent Belfast accent. Blogger,cook, mother, grandma, Scrabble-player and enthusiastic world traveler.
This entry was posted in Armenia, Beauty, Christianity, Cross-cultural understanding, Education, International Human Rights Day, Islam, Language, Learning, life lessons, Literacy, Middle East, Nagorno-Karabakh, National pride, Nature, Poetry, Religion, Rt, Syunik Marz, travel, Turkey Armenia relations, war, Wilfred Owen, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Where Worlds Collide

  1. Catherine Robson says:

    Very nice…thanks Liz!

    From: Marigold Moment To: lrobson1972@yahoo.com Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2017 11:18 AM Subject: [New post] Where Worlds Collide #yiv2025642076 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2025642076 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2025642076 a.yiv2025642076primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2025642076 a.yiv2025642076primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2025642076 a.yiv2025642076primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2025642076 a.yiv2025642076primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2025642076 WordPress.com | Liz Barron posted: “J’s beautiful face is surrounded by the hijab she uses to cover her hair. Her hijab is the only one I have seen in Armenia. J speaks Farsi, Kurdish, Arabic and of course English. She glowed as she talked about the TS Eliot poems she is teaching. I asked h” | |

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s